Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, September 29, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Thirteen

Appetizer - What is your favorite herb or spice?

My favorite herb or favorite herb or spice... Well, my favorite herb would be Herb Tarlek from "WKRP in Cincinnati" and my favorite spice would be the Spice Mines of Kessel (which Han Solo ran in less than 12 parsecs).

Soup - Name a song you like but haven't heard in a long time.

There's an old Asia tune called "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" I haven't heard in a while that I always liked (the video had to do with a child being lost from his parents) - also 10,000 Maniacs did a tune called "What's the Matter Here" that was about child abuse and how some people just ignore the pain that's going on around them. Interesting, they both evoke strong emotions in me that relate to children and how they're treated or cared for.

Salad - If you were to take just one minute to write down as many things as you can think of that you need (not want) to do, approximately how many things would there be?

I need to schedule a new doctor's appt. I need to reserve rooms for TTA Conference next month. I need to finish two free-lance web design jobs. I need to start looking at the music for "The King & I" that I start Music Directing next week. I need to get new tires for my car. I need to get started and have the back door of the house repaired. I need to stop blogging at work ;) I need to be more responsive to the needs of my family. I need to stop wasting time playing Civilization III all night. I need to watch my NetFlix DVD's and actually return them. I need to help my son on my model. I need to know if a minute is up yet. I need to seriously examine my future employment possibilities. I need to improve my keyboard playing skills. I need to be more attentive to local and world events. I need this paddletoy - and that's all I need.

Main Course - Tell something interesting about one of your family members (nothing scandalous, please, just something unique).

My uncle has a doctorate and was a professor in New York, as well as having been married to a woman from Switzerland for a while.

Scandalous? There's nothing scandalous about my family. We're so clean we squeak.

Dessert - What's the latest you've ever stayed awake?

I've stayed up all night chatting on a very new internet chat during college a couple times. Happened to glance out the window at one point and saw it was light...uh-oh.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

United Methodist Survey

If you are a United Methodist, take the United Methodist Church Survey.

State of The United Methodist Church Survey

The Connectional Table is conducting research on State of The United Methodist Church for the 2008 General Conference. We invite you to share with us your perspectives and points of view of the Church and its importance to your spiritual journey.

Way to go, Dad!

I just have to tell everyone, yesterday, my dad bowled a 289!

Next time, I expect him to do better...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - September (Week 4)

For the final Self Portrait Challenge of September, I have a photo of myself with the most important people in the world - my family.

(I call this shot our Meet the Beatles shot)

Another, slightly more serious version hangs on the wall in our home. These three folks are precious to me in more ways than I can possibly say. Our lives revolve around each other in such a way that we are so intertwined, when one is happy we're all happy, and when one's upset, we're all upset. When one laughs, we all laugh.

All for one and one for all.

Take the Self Portrait Challenge!

UPDATE: Oh, by the way - we go on tour next month:

Picking Your Battles...

I've heard this philosophy espoused by parents a number of times as I've chatted with them about raising children. Supposedly they advocate giving in on minor matters while standing firm on more important issues - reasons vary from allowing the child an occasional sense of accomplishment or independence to simple fatigue and downright apathy.

Michael Williams tackles this issue, that I've been meaning to blog about for a while now, head on:
I'm curious about the notion that parents have to "pick their battles" with their children in the sense that they shouldn't try to win every point but focus only on the important issues. This seems like an eminently sensible strategy for dealing with a spouse or other equal, and even more-so a boss or other superior, but is this the best way to deal with a subordinate?


As I'm learning with dogs and dominance challenges, if you expect to lead the pack then it's important to win every single time.
Amen, Michael. Read the whole post, and then also read a depressing article from The Washington Post about parental permissiveness and ignorance as to the suggestive T-shirts they allow their teens to wear...

As for me, I've pledged not to "pick my battles" and instead to show my kids that I care about each and every one of the issues and conflicts that come up. Giving in means you show them they, or their concern, is of little importance to you and subsquently neither are they. Show strength, show leadership, and show concern for everything your child brings to you, regardless of your frustration level. It's hard, but ultimately you don't matter - your kids do.

Well, It's Official...There's No Compromise. Or Is There?

The two sides of the Iraq war debate have officially polarized and now there is no possibility for middle ground anymore. No way either side will see either the other side's points, nor work for a compromise on what to believe or support.

It's either for or against, with completely contradicting reasoning on either side. And I say that for the side I fall on, as well.

I've watched debate over Clinton's TV interview, plus the rebuttals and support on either side by not only the politicians but by all the bloggers.

We're either safer, or worse off. Terrorism is either lessened or increased, depending on which side you're on. The people in Iraq either love us or hate us. Bush has either done a good job or a terrible job. Clinton did all he could, or did nothing. The war in Iraq was absolutely necessary or completely useless. You pick - one side or the other. There's nothing in the middle.

Bob Corker's either a great leader or corrupt heathen. Harold Ford, Jr. is...well, a either a great leader or a corrupt heathen. Governor Phil Bredesen singlehandedly destroyed the lives of people on TennCare, or saved them. Doesn't matter what the details are, just as long as you've made a decision.

I hate it. I despise it. I can't read blogs anymore that pick one side of the debate or the other, because there's never room for exploring the real truths. It's either black or white, yes or no, us or them. And that's going to kill us all much more completely than any terrorist might be able to.


I dare anyone reading this post who is set in their opinions to dig deep inside their own psyche, muster up some intestinal fortitude and admit to yourself - and us - one item. One point, one idea, one truth...that you've blasted the other side for lying about or exaggerating for years, but that you secretly, in your heart of hearts, actually are starting to believe yourself. And admit it here, in comments, or on your site.

Help start the movement toward putting together the real story and the real truth - sticking blindly by your guns isn't going to do it, there must be something you can be brave and admit that maybe you got it wrong, and the other side was right about all along. If enough people can do it, maybe we can start moving toward an understanding about what this is all really about.

C'mon, think. Something, somewhere, in the arguments you've vehemently and religiously ridiculed or denied - some spark of an argument you've said to yourself, "Ok...maybe they're right on that one..." Let it out - it will do you good.

Go for it. After a few comments roll in, I'll let you in on my big admission. But not till then.

SPC Coming...

My final Self-Portrait Challenge for September is delayed, but I'll have it up tonight (as if you were actually wondering where it was). This one is special, if I can get it scanned in good enough quality and I think you'll like it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Personal Responsibility

What are the limits of our personal responsibility?

Perhaps that's not the best way to pose this particular question... When you make a commitment, even one that's not written in blood or carved in stone (choose your own metaphor) how hard do you work to keep your word?

Let's say you've told someone you're going to be at the Blogger Bash this weekend at Barley's Tap House (remember?) and at the last minute something comes up and you can't go. Do you count that as breaking a commitment or a promise? Probably not, as no one would have actually been depending on your presence one way or the other. However, if you'd mentioned that you'd pick up someone's tab, or give them a ride to or from the event then fail to show up - then yes, you're breaking a commitment. Even if the promise was explicit or implied, your absence has altered the flow of another person's life.

Now, hopefully in most cases the literal setbacks would be minor (in this instance, the other person can surely hitch a ride from someone else) but your status in their eyes and others around would likely be diminished somewhat. Maybe in that case you make it up to them next time, no harm no foul, all's forgiven. Right?

Ok, say the situation is a little more complex or serious. Say you promised to take someone to the airport? If you blew it off, or forgot, that person's life could be significantly altered. Missing a flight can be a costly and situation, not to mention the circumstances involved with missing whatever they were flying for. If someone was scheduled to pick me up at 6am for an 8am flight, and they didn't show up - causing me a good deal of distress and perhaps frantic calls to a cab company - it would be difficult to trust them again anytime soon for something of that magnitude.

You might be thinking, "Well, they were doing you a favor - you didn't want to spring for a cab or long-term parking so how do you feel justified in criticizing someone who was doing you a favor in the first place?" I understand the idea, but the point is not that since they're doing me a favor, they get to dictate the terms and conditions of the task they've agreed to perform - or whether to perform it at all. The point is once you've agreed to take on a job and someone is relying on your to come through, you do that job to the best of your ability regardless of time, place or circumstance. If things come up to force you to alter your agreement, then it's up to you to make arrangements to compensate. Obviously plans change - schedules are altered, people get sick, etc. But once you've agreed, in faith and principle and regardless of whether there's money involved, then you are honor-bound to see it through.

Honor is a nebulous concept, and a lot of people self-define it to fit their own ends. Similarly with different kinds of ethics and morality, people define levels of personal responsibility in different ways. When those different levels intersect, trouble can follow.

I'm very big on a do-what-you-say kind of interaction. If you say you're going to pick me up at 6am (or 3pm, or 9:42pm) then I'd better see your car pulling up at that time. And you can rely on me to do the same. In fact, I'll probably be there early just to make sure. And if I'm going to be late or not there at all, preparations will be made as soon as I realize it.

What are your expected levels of personal responsibility, and how do you respond to others' expectations?

My Little Tink

Seven years ago our family was made complete.

Happy Birthday, Tink :)

(L - Tink visiting "Disney's Princesses on Ice" this past weekend)

(R - Tink as her favorite idiom at Idiom Day in school. She came as "butterflies in her stomach", "trimming her hair", and "changing clothes")

Truer Words...

More great matholosophy at Indexed

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Ultimate Princess

Tonight, Tink has her very first ever sleep over.

See, on Monday she turns seven - finally rounding that corner and taking the downhill slope toward double-digits...

My ever-faithful, ever-patient wife will be taking her and her little best friend (well, one of her best friends at least. Tink has about four. While this one is her best friend, and that one is also her best friend, this little girl from tonight is her very best friend. Oh, ok, thank you - that clears it right up for me...) to dinner on Market Square, a whirlwind trip through the new Mast General store, and to see Disney Princesses on Ice. Then it's back home for an all-nighter of fun and merriment and much giggling.

Now, pan the camera over to myself and Brainyboy, standing in the corner...staring. Wondering how we ever got ourselves into this predicament.

The solution?

Run. Run, far away....

Always The Last One...

So, like, when do I get to join Blogger Beta program like all the cool kids?

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, September 22, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Twelve

Appetizer - Measured in minutes or hours, how much exercise have you had in the last week?

I would say one good hour of exercise, playing our annual 2-hand-touch game of football with the youth at our annual church picnic this past Sunday. I was dead-tired afterward and am still sore.

But that's it. I have no time to go to the gym - it's either that or don't spend time with my family. Big decision. If you can find some other holes in my schedule, good luck.

Soup - If you had to change your blog title to something else, what would it be?

Another choice would be "The Flux Capacitor"

Salad - Name one television show you watched when you were 9-12 years old.

Just one? What kid can possibly choose one show that he watched between 9-12? Ok, just would be between 1976 and 1980.... Here's one - "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century". I was just old enough to really begin to appreciate Wilma Deering's shiny white skin-tight pilot's suit.... and that hair!

Main Course - If someone gave you $50 to spend with the one condition that it had to be educational, what would you purchase?

Probably tickets to a really cool museum somewhere I could bring the whole family to see. Someday I need to do a review post of all the museum's we've visited over the years. From Fernbank in Atlanta to the Smithsonian in D.C. to most recently the American Museum of Natural History in NYC... we love 'em.

Dessert - Do you tend to prefer dark colors, neutral shades, or lighter/pastel hues?

I prefer neutral shades. Well, neutral mixed with lighter colors, when possible.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I, For One, Can't Wait For "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride: The Motion Picture"

Disney pushing new movie based on 'Jungle Cruise'
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Disney's stepping up its effort to get a Jungle Cruise movie into theaters.

Disney, of course, created one of the most profitable franchises in movie history with its Pirates of the Caribbean films. But it bombed with flicks based on Haunted Mansion and Country Bear Jamboree. For Jungle Cruise, the HR reports that Disney's enlisted the executive producers of the TV show "Smallville" to write the script. (For PotC, Disney brought aboard the writers of "Shrek.")
How long before they decide to make a movie out of "The Enchanted Tiki Room" and complete the Adventureland Trifecta?

However, I don't think they can ever make an "It's a Small World" motion picture. Happy children from all over the world, singing together as one global community of peace, love and harmony? Talk about Fantasyland.

Maybe if Stitch made a cameo and ruined things...

Defending the Office of the President of the United States

Several prominent Bush foes in Congress have stood up for him against Hugo Chavez's speech at the UN yesterday:

Charlie Rangel (D-NY):
I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president, do not come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State..."
And Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is an everyday thug...[he] abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations. He demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela.
It's interesting to see Democrats standing up for the Presidency in a rare sign of respect for the office in this day and age. Oh, I have no illusion they've suddenly come over to Bush's side, but at least there's an outward regard for the kind of respect the President of the United States deserves from the people of the U.S., regardless of who the officeholder is.

It's too bad neither the Democrats or Republicans have shown this regard for the office over the last several years or so - ever since the Clinton election (which is how far back my general political knowledge goes) respect for the actual office has eroded as more and more people on both sides of the political spectrum confused the office with the man (men) and degraded it beyond recognition. One only has to listen to Rush Limbaugh's Clinton imitations and all the "Chimpy W. McBoozy" jokes from the last few years to see common dignity has lapsed.

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for well intentioned political satire like on "Saturday Night Live", but the disrespect we've seen for the Office of the Presidency has been staggering. Maybe Rangel and Pelosi represent a change in the wind, maybe not. We can only hope others follow their example and ask themselves where their standards really lie.

Unfortunately, you still get idiocy like this:
In the first TV ad of his gubernatorial campaign, a giant-sized Jim Bryson is shown holding a diminutive and stumbling Phil Bredesen in the palm of his outstretched hand as a narrator denounces the incumbent governor.


Hear Ye, Hear Ye


What: BlogFest
When: September 30, 6PM till whenever
Why: To Meet the folks behind the posts
Where: Barley's Taproom in the Old City

RSVP: email to from Shots Across the Bow.

Who's going?

The Torture Fable

Posted on Knoxviews:
Today is the International Day Of Peace, established by the UN in 1981. On this day of peace, we learn that torture in Iraq is now worse than it was under Saddam.

Happy Peace Day.

The article linked to says, in part:
[The UN's chief anti-torture expert] Manfred Nowak said the situation in Iraq was "out of control", with abuses being committed by security forces, militia groups and anti-US insurgents.

Bodies found in the Baghdad morgue "often bear signs of severe torture", said the human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq in a report.

The wounds confirmed reports given by refugees from Iraq, Mr Nowak said.

He told journalists at a briefing in Geneva that he had yet to visit Iraq, but he was able to base his information on autopsies and interviews with Iraqis in neighbouring Jordan.

"What most people tell you is that the situation as far as torture is concerned now in Iraq is totally out of hand," the Austrian law professor said.

"The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein," he added.

Um, no. We learn that an UN anti-terrorist expert has interviewed Iraqi refugees in Jordan, who bore scars from torture inflicted on them by their own peoples' militia groups, security forces and anti-US insurgents. These reports apparently coincide with the conditions of bodies in the Baghdad morgue.

You also find out the refugees are the one's reporting that the torture is "worse than under Saddam", which of course would be a subjective argument based on people who've been subjected to trauma. There's no data to back this up, just stories. Obviously it's bad, but to rely on Iraqi refugees to form such a definitive, reportable conclusion is not very responsible journalism.

The bottom line is the Iraqis are either doing this to each other in sectarian, racial and religious bigotry-fueled hatred, or the foreign insurgents are doing it. These are the ones we are either trying to bring together into a cohesive unit to govern a new, free, Iraq that respects its people and its traditions or they're the ones we're fighting against that are sponsored by Al Qaeda, Iran, Syria, etc.

Seems to me this has much less to do with the US or the coalition and more to do with the kind of cultural norms we're struggling to overcome and lead to peace.

Reporting and commentary like the one at Knoxviews above obviously tell a small section of the story, don't elaborate on the details and come to the conclusions that your readers want to see. If I thought I could believe the premise stated above that torture was now worse than under Saddam, I'd need to see documented proof and statistics that show a) the US, the Coalition or the new, legitimate Iraqi government are performing these horrific acts, and b) that they were demonstrably more numerous and worse than say, gassing thousands of Kurds, putting people in giant shredders, raping and murdering young women at the pleasure of Udaq and Qusay, etc.

The report itself doesn't even allege the US or its allies were part of the tortures. However, we're apparently supposed to take responsibility for all atrocities committed all throughout the country by our enemies and those willing to betray their own countrymen.

But then why should facts and statistics get in the way of an good inflammatory headline?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Something Familiar About This...

Hey, good news! New airline coming to McGhee Tyson
The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority announced Tuesday that a new airline has been recruited to Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport.

The airline will be named in a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the Airport.
This is good news for Knoxville, as it has lost some low-cost air carriers recently.

However, my crack team of gully dwarf researchers have uncovered the name and logo of this new carrier - and for some reason I'm a bit uneasy...

Oceanic Airlines
Does this name ring any bells? I've thought about it for a while, but I'm just lost...

We Kindle, We Char, We Flame and Ignite...

Arr, Mateys, 'tis that time of yar agayn... buckle up yer swash and swing from th' yarrdarrm!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - September (Week 3)

Yesterday my family and I spent the pre-UT/Florida game hours with a trip to Dollywood. If you've never been there, Dollywood is about the most laid back amusement park you could ever visit, doesn't take itself too seriously and is usually a pretty relaxing way to spend a day.

In fact, the train ride around the part is one of the best ways to unwind, especially when you take the trip with my kids...

I also finally rode Thunderhead, the great new wooden roller coaster, and I loved it. 55 mph, 100' drop, hairpin turn right out of the gate and a station pass through in the middle of the ride - awesome.

See if you can find me in the photo below - me with my fellow roller-coaster enthusiasts. You'll probably want to click on the picture for the full version.

Take the Self Portrait Challenge!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

This Just In...

Sad news rocked the animation world today, as Larry the Cucumber, star of the popular VeggieTales children's animated series was found dead in his refrigerator. Close friend Bob the Tomato confirmed that Larry had recently been depressed following reports that NBC would require them to drop their "God" act in order to appear on Saturday morning television, but he had seemed to be handling it well.

Our sources tell us, however, that lately Larry had been running with a rough crowd of scallions and milk carton-tipping. Tragically, he was last seen in the disreputable company of a large stalk of spinach.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Upcoming Disney Animation

Some amazing, stellar pre-production photos and artwork of what's up next from Disney/Pixar animation

One hint, three words: Toy Story 3.

New Knoxville Theatre Blog

Joe Burlein has started a new Knoxville Theatre blog called Thank you, five minutes and will be offering his views and reviews of the Knoxville Theatre scene, with room for others to make their opinions known.

Joe was recently in Hewdig and the Angry Inch with the Actor's Co-op and I worked with him in Company at the Oak Ridge Playhouse a few years back. He's a good guy and a talented actor - go check him out.

Just when you see a show I'm kind ;)

That's Odd..

Certain Blogger sites seem to be DOA this morning, while some like mine are still up and running. Must be something with an external filesheet call on certain templates...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

QQD - Quick Question of the Day

If you could go back and live one year of your life over again, what year would it be? Why?

Mission: IOA

For pure Universal foolishness and theme park fun, visit The Beast and view his and his brother Rex's (my college roommate)'s film-noir-but-still-in-color masterpiece:


Filmed on location at Universal's Islands of Adventures in Orlando, FL.

It's a riot!

(Put this one on Youtube, guys!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Morning After

Whew. I'm glad that's over. Getting through a funeral is tough, but enduring a mass, nationwide funeral once every year is getting to be tedious.

I wish more had been made in the media of the lives of those that were taken, and not the deaths. Instead of so many solemn wreath-laying ceremonies, maybe play a cut from one of Rebecca Lee Koborie's albums? I don't know, maybe somewhere they did but I didn't see it.

I just think it's better the celebrate life instead of mourning death. That's one thing I appreciate about most Methodist funerals I've been to, especially one lately for a young mother of two high school and college age boys I went to recently. She had finally succumbed to a long battle with cancer and while the service was serious and melancholy, it had a warm glow of love and remembrance that celebrated the good things she did during her life. How she was a wonderful wife and mother and teacher, and friend to those who loved her. And all the positive contributions and influences she had on the people around her. That's what helps me heal, and I hope the 2996 Project has helped some people heal as well.

Incidentally, Dale, the creator of the 2996 Project apparently has contracted the flu, and is unemployed and has no health insurance at the moment. His wife had to take over the duties of running the site as well as their kids, dogs, cats, goldfish, etc, so any support you might want to throw their way would be appreciated.

Meanwhile I'm left a bit disappointed at one aspect of the project. I still hope a family member or friend of Rebecca Koborie will eventually contact me. It's almost the feeling of hosting an open house and nobody coming, so you've prepared a big spread but left waiting for guests that never arrive. I'm not talking about the other participants in the project, those who posted tributes and also visited other sites, or the folks who just visited to pay tribute. I'm hoping to connect with someone who knew her directly. But it still hasn't happened. Maybe it will - if anyone wants to get in touch with me, I'm at

God Bless.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"A Requiem for Rebecca" - Sept 11

Today is September 11.

Rebecca Lee KoborieI've struggled deciding what to post about Rebecca Lee Koborie on the actual day. I've spent the last several days posting tidbits, remembrances, tributes and anecdotes of her life that have been left in various places online.

One thing that comes up time and time again was Rebecca's obvious love of music and performing. That's something that easily and quickly resonated with me as I have been in love with music my whole life. I continue to be involved a great deal in many different musical expressions, including church music, a band, musical theatre, even just singing with my kids in the car. This evening I discussed with some friends that sometimes I feel I love music so much that I lose sight of God in the notes and words and rhythms. They correctly pointed out to me that in many cases, God is the notes and words and rhythms. His voice reverberates in the songs of a choir, the sound of a marching band, an orchestra, a string quartet, a cabaret band, a soloist, a duet, a pianist, a cellist, a drummer, a harpist. Sometimes most eloquently in the sweet, pure voice of a child singing "Jesus Loves Me."

In Les Miserable the final line of the show is "To love another person is to see the face of God"...I've always firmly believed that to hear music is to hear the voice of God.

Therefore I quickly discovered the fact that Rebecca was randomly assigned to me not by chance, but by some sort of design. Her deep involvement with music allowed her to be one of those lucky folks that convey the voice of God to her brothers and sisters in music.

On September 11, 2001 that particular instrument was stilled.

I never met her, never heard her sing. According to one person she was a mezzo-soprano, which to me is one of the loveliest tones a female vocalist can possess. I also never heard her play the piano, which unlike any other instrument can invoke emotional reactions that audiences never realized they had. I will never hear her play, either.

I thought for a while that this final post would be a rumination on the loss of a musical artist to the world, how her voice would never again inspire, create, emote, or cherish. I thought I could best pay tribute to her by remembering her song.

But then I thought some more, and a deeper meaning came to me.

If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
I Corinthians 13:1

What Paul meant was that one can sing, one can play an instrument, one can create beautiful music - but if there is no love in your heart, the music is hollow and empty.

I have no idea if Rebecca was religious, but I feel certain she would've agreed with this passage. And I feel strongly that while it's a tragedy a great musical talent was lost five years ago, something more important was lost. And the comments on the tribute sites, while almost always mentioning music, consistently mentioned something else. She was a good friend.

She was also a daughter. And a sister. And an aunt.

All the people I've read who offered stories of Rebecca remember her for her kindness, her friendship, her love. If she didn't have these traits, and if these traits didn't come through in her music, few people would've remembered her. She cared about her friends and her family as much or more than she cared about music. The music was simply a way to express her love of life and those around her.

God's voice spoke through her, and used the music to help her express her love and caring.

So while the world lost a wonderful musician that I will never hear, more importantly the world lost what might've one day been a good friend. She lived in New Jersey and worked in New York so it's doubtful we would have ever met, but now that chance is gone forever. And along with the many, many people's whose lives she touched and continues to touch to this day, there are hundreds and maybe thousands of people she will never touch because her life was taken from her too soon.

I miss her. And I never met her. But I'll think about her from time to time when I hear a piano.

I titled this post "Requiem for Rebecca". But it's not a dirge, not a song of sadness. It's not largo or grave. This requiem is full of joy, it's andante, allegro, or cantabile because the lives she touched will always remember her and rejoice because of it. Even if they never knew her.

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - September (Week 2)

This month's Self Portrait Challenge is "with someone...". A couple days ago I posted a long meme about blogging, and one of the topics touched on was the people you meet while blogging.

I'm fortunate to have met some great people while blogging, as well as getting back in touch with folks I haven't seen in a while. So this week's Self Portrait Challenge entry is "with...blogger buddies".

Here's me and Tish after lunch at the Mellow Mushroom on the strip this past Friday.

Then here's me and Big Orange Michael at the UT game yesterday:

And finally here's me and Becky from last year when we she came to Tennessee for a visit:

I may have another couple of "With...blogger buddies" to post soon...

UPDATE: Yep, and here's me and Teresa (Hatamaran):

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 10

Today is September 10.

More about the life of Rebecca Lee Koborie...

  • Rebecca sang at the funeral of the mother of Monica Lazor

  • Rebecca inspired an actor she performed with at a converted steamboat called the Showboat Majestic. He was more committed to pursue acting because of her inspiration.

  • Rebecca was remembered in poetry by fellow performer Dave Cremonese:
    A soaring voice
    The sound of piano beneath
    I sat at that piano
    As I played, I watched
    And listened to you soar
    As you showered all below
    With the gift of a beautiful voice
    Your spirit, your love
    And every time I sit at the piano
    I feel a bit of that love
    That I felt so long ago
    It's been so long, yet
    I'll never forget you
    God Bless and Keep you
    And all that you left behind
    We miss you

  • Rebecca "calmed the rough waves" working at Citibank with Marilyn Monte of Orlando, FL.

  • Rebecca touched the life of Paulette Vandenbrande deeply.

  • Rebecca's life was remembered in the planting of a Blue Spruce by John Lehmus and
    Sue Wallingford of Kennebunk

(Stories compiled from tributes submitted at

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 9

Today is September 9th.

A continuing look at leaves from the book of Rebecca Lee Koborie:

  • Rebecca was a friend and neighbor to Rebecca Vazquez in Guttenburg, NJ. She hung out at the pool and was friend to neighbor Rebecca's daughter.

  • Rebecca was the aunt to a woman named Rachel, who was consoled by her good firend Amy Hackett of Bangor, Maine. Rebecca and Rachel were very close and Rebecca visited them in Maine very often.

  • Rebecca was a friend of San Diegan Diane Rohrbach's sister Linda, who thought she was a very special person.

  • Rebecca performed piano at Casa Dante's restaurant in Jersey City and so impressed one of the patrons, Cary Saccente of West New York, NJ that he left a tip and picked up her business card to remember to return and hear her again. He was never able to hear her again.

  • Rebecca performed with Bob Timmons of New York at the Ocean City Dinner Theatre in Ocean City, MD. He remembers her kindness and amazing talent.

    She had a mezzo-soprano voice that he still remembers clearly to this day.

  • Rebecca performed for two years at the Commander Cabaret with Dawn Ovando of Salisbury, MD in the late 70's. Two years later she invited Dawn to visit NYC and they saw Dawn's first Broadway show, "Grease". This experience inspired Dawn to continue a performing career.

(Stories compiled from tributes submitted at

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Friday, September 08, 2006

All About Blog

Fellow Self Portrait Challenger Sarah-Jean tagged me on this very interesting meme about blogging. Thanks, SJ!

1) Are you happy/satisfied with your blog’s content and look?

Look: One of the reasons I haven't switched to WordPress is because I like the ability to completely control the design of my page. Actually, I'm pretty satisfied with it, although I've been tired of the ever-changing background and highlight color scheme. I never cease to get snide comments from CERTAIN people when it happens to pop up bright pink.

I like changing out the banner with the seasons. Has anyone noticed that? I'll put the fall one back up (I've gone around the horn!) probably next month, since everyone knows autumn doesn't arrive for real in East Tennessee till mid-October at the earliest.

I'd like to design the page to reflect the cover of this book since the name of the blog is taken from it and its companions, but I haven't been able to really work the blog format into the idea. Maybe I'll buckle down and make the big change when the movie comes out.

Content: For someone with a lot of ideas swirling around in his (muddled) head, I don't seem to be able to put them into the keyboard as well or as often as I'd like. I'm passionate about certain issues, many of those pertaining to children and art, but I think political blogs have ruined to a certain degree the burgeoning art of creative blogging (more about that later). I don't have the writing skills to be a Lileks and make the occasional trip to Target a Pulitzer Prize-winning essay on Americana, nor do I exude poetry from my pores (example: see previous five words) and keep a reading audience spellbound.

Interestingly, I seem to blog more when my mind is relatively untroubled. If you see my posts get few and far between, you know I have something on my mind. If I spew forth with great frequency, things are better. Feel free to check my posting history for my cyber-rhythm.

I hope my content overall is found to people's liking - obviously if you're reading this, you have some interest in my life. I try to touch on theatre, nostalgia, parenting and kids, a few current events, the occasional amusing anecdote, and once in a while I come up with someone so crass I have to run it by my censor first. Thanks, MKS! No, that post will never see the light of day...

2) Does your family know about your blog?

Yes, my wife and my parents all read my site. I think my brother in Austin knows about it, but I don't think he's ever commented. It does make me think twice sometimes about the things I write about, although usually the most I have to filter is my language :) Which isn't that bad in the first place, really, so, no worries mom.

3) Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog? Do you consider it a private thing?

There aren't many offline friends that know about my blog, and those who do I've told I trust to keep it to themselves. I like to have SOME freedom in the things I write about, since the things that happen in my life often inspire commentary and if there was always a possibility someone I knew read about themselves (however anonymously I put it) and was offended, I'd feel badly about it.

I do avoid talking about work very much, since that kind of thing can really come back and bite you. Nope, don't type about work much at all.

There are a number of offline friends that are also bloggers, so of course we know about each other (Michael, Lane, Teresa, Tish, and "The Beast")

4) Did blogging cause positive changes in your thoughts?

I'm not sure they were all necessary positive, but blogging has certainly opened my mind to a lot of things, especially political and cultural worlds I never knew existed.

I find myself, through blogs, paying more attention to local and national events, forming opinions where before I might've not noticed them. I watch local government and marvel at the duplicity and elitism of it all. I've become more attuned to the mindset of different things our country does, both overseas and at home, and how the citizens react to them. I've gained insight into the many ways couples relate to each other and how they raise their kids. And I've enjoyed seeing new posts from the bloggers that I frequent, and have had fun getting to know people I never would've met otherwise.

I think that's a positive!

5) Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or do you love to go and discover more by yourself?

There are three or four separate categories of blogs I visit: 1) Rocky Top Brigade bloggers, the loose Tennessee coalition that has been in existence for several years, 2) Local Knoxville bloggers that I have met through various sources, 3) Commenters who come to my site via someone else or a search engine - I typically visit the site of anyone who comments and try to at least give their blog a few days of return visits. If I enjoy what I read, I'll keep coming back. And the latest set, 4) Self Portrait Challenge bloggers - I've made a few new friends via this feature and have added several sites to my daily reads.

So there are several ways I find new sites. I don't always comment (though I try) but I'm there.

6) What does a visitor counter mean to you? Do you like having one on your blog?

I find myself looking at and analyzing my StatTracker all the time. I just recently added Google Analytics to the site as well, and the numbers are a bit different.

I'd love to see tons of visits every day, but I usually only average about 80 or so. I don't think my content is edgy, controversial, or eloquent enough to garner a lot of interest, but those who do come because we're friends or you enjoy the things I have to say (i.e. you who are reading this now) I humbly thank you :)

7) Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?

I don't think I've tried that but I really for bloggers to have a photo of themselves on their site somewhere, so I can place a face with a writing style. It just makes it a lot easier to imagine the words percolating through a brain if I can picture the facial expressions and body language.

8) Admit it. Do you think there is any real benefit in blogging?

I think it means different things for different people. I don't think you should blog if you have nothing really to say except to parrot what other people are saying. You shouldn't try to be controversial for controversy's sake. And don't be a flamer disguised as a "free thinking" site. You're not fooling anybody.

As I said above, blogging helps folks make contact with others they might not normally meet in real life - although that's true of almost any online community. But blogging opens people up, lets them talk about themselves and their lives in a manner they might not with even their best friends. Opinions, thoughts, fears, emotions, prejudices, whatever...they can be posted on a blog and an instant family of readers has access to comment and offer feedback and support.

Our world has an epidemic of loneliness and an increasing amount of separation from each other, even as our communication technology connects every square millimiter of the globe. Anything to bring people together and create real communication is of great benefit.

9) Do you think that blogger’s society is isolated from the real world or interaction with events?

I do think political bloggers think a lot more highly of themselves and of their impact on the rest of the world than is warranted. I also think bloggers who primarily post about current events, politics, and other "serious" material tend to look down on those who mainly blog about their own lives and their own worlds. I'm not sure where that comes from, I think mainly because they tend to see themselves as crusaders and mavericks ready to take on the establishment, which to some is a very noble calling and deserving of respect and admiration.


Anyway, I do however believe that blogging is becoming more a part of society in general, but it's still a niche and not an overwhelming amount of people understand what it is or what it does.

10) Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it’s a normal thing?

I've had one major criticism incident while blogging - long time readers may remember the "concealed weapon carry" incident. I won't go into it here (feel free to explore the link) but suffice to say a stray comment on another site ignited a bit of a firestorm and spilled over to my site. I felt the need to respond and the furor died down soon after. It bothered me for a good while, because while blogs offer the freedom to speak your mind, you also have to accept the possibility (and in some cases the inevitabilty) of being attacked for your views. Healthy debate is great, unjust name-calling and criticizing is not.

While it's normal, it's not healthy and has little place in the online community. Well, outside of those certain dark places where no good and no light can ever come. You know, like University of Florida football...

11) Do you fear some political blogs and avoid them?

Fear them? Ha. I laugh in the face of danger. Ha ha ha ha ha...

Actually, I covered this a bit above. I don't avoid political blogs per se, but I do avoid those that profess particular allegience to a political party (any of them) because the kind of blind obedience to a party and platform is one of the biggest problems facing the country today. So I don't support or patronize those sites.

12) Were you shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?

What? Who got arrested? I missed it...

Ok, Doug, what did you hack into?

13) What do you think will happen to your blog after you die?

It will be bronzed and put on a shelf in the Smithsonian Institution between Max Klinger's dress and Kermit the Frog.

14) What song do you like to hear? What song would you like to link to on your blog?

Wow, these questions kind of got totally random, didn't they?

Um, any song's of - especially if they're by the Atomic Horns (coming soon to a Knoxville area venue near you!).

15) The next “victims”?

Hmm.. Since I got this from an SPC participant, I'll pass along the favor...

1. Nikki
2. Georgia
3. Deb R
4. And what the heck, Tish.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 7

Today is September 7th.

Here's the quilt I mentioned in the post for September 5:

I love how music played such a central role in her life. I wonder what her favorite artist was, her favorite style, who was her favorite composer...

(thanks to Kim Monins from

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 6

More accolades and remembrances:

A dedication to a dear friend of mine.
Dear Rebecca,
I knew you for three years thats why when i found out about you it brought me to tears. You were a brief friend that i met through the doctors office. The last time i saw you i was actually drawing your blood the thursaday right before that tragedy occured on Tuesday September 11,2001. May God Bless you and keep you in his GLORY.
Love For Ever And For Always
Rachel Cepeda

I didnt know who you were but I wanted to send my prayers to your family and all the other familys who lost a love one. I joined the army sept 14th 2001 and I am sorry I could not do more but I tried, again we all will keep you in our memories forever
PFC Scott MacDougal

(My thanks to SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 VICTIMS)

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 5 put together an interesting project - creating quilts.

The United in Memory 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt™, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to keep alive the memories of the victims of September 11, 2001 through the United in Memory 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt™.

This organization is committed to honoring the victims and comforting the world by making the quilt available for public viewing throughout the nation and around the world.

This organization also strives to honor with courage and compassion the thousands of surviving families, those who risked their lives to save others, and those who supported the United States of America in its darkest hours. May their lives serve as a healing balm to our wounded spirits and as eternal beacons, reaffirming our respect for life and freedom and inspiring an end to hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance.

The quilt will be exhibited in Staten Island, NY Sept. 9-11 and in Radnor, PA Sept. 15-17.

Here's a link to the quilt for Rebecca Lee Koborie.

I'm going to try and get permission to post a photo of the quilt on the site, but please click on the link and take a look - it's quite beautiful.

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Monday, September 04, 2006

Good on ya, mate

I'm totally bummed.

Stingray kills 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin
Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.
Steve Irwin was always a favorite in our house, and his exploits will be greatly missed. Daredevil or not, he loved animals and loved nature and showed more respect to both in one day than some people show in a lifetime.

Fair dinkum, cobber.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 3

Today is the 3rd of September.

Rebecca Lee Koborie Music Scholarship Fund

The Koborie family has established the Shenango Valley Community Foundation in memory of Rebecca to further education in the field of music and the Rebecca Lee Koborie Music Memorial Foundation. Donations may be sent to 39 Chestnut Street, Sharon, PA 16146.

More information about the fund here and here. Apply for the scholarship here.

If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 2

Today is the 2nd of September.

Rebecca was my neighbor, living in the same building where I live. Rebecca was a very talented singer and musician. She had a beautiful voice. For a while she sang and played the piano at the Italian restaurant in the Galaxy mall. She had a warm personality, with always a smile on her face and had a outgoing personality.

*** Posted by Mimi on 2006-06-04 ***

I am in the 10th grade and I'm doing a project for my Drama class. When I came arcoss Rebecca's name and read about her some I knew she was a good person so I decided to do my project on her out of the other 3000 people in the book i had. She seems like a very nice person and should not have had happen to her what did.

*** Posted by Amber Whiting on 2005-08-23 ***
Hearing Rebecca was a musician was especially meaningful for me, and I would like to have been able to hear her play and sing. I would imagine she made a lot of people happy.


If you knew Rebecca, or had some connection and would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at I'd especially love to hear from family members and friends who can tell me more about her musical interests and history with music.

2996 Project

Friday, September 01, 2006

Oh Please, Don't Let It Be Like Last Year


Score Prediction
Tennessee: 20
California: 17

Self Portrait Challenge - September (Week 1)

This month the challenge is "with someone". I've got some good ideas for this month, including "with" other bloggers, my family, and who knows who else. But for the first one I'm going to go back in time.

In 1972 I was 5 years old, and two of my absolute favorite things to do in the world were watch H.R. Pufnstuf and Lidsville on Saturday mornings, and to go to Six Flags over Georgia in Atlanta every summer with my family.

For a few years, those worlds collided. Sid & Marty Krofft, creators of H.R. Pufnstuf and Lidsville had a Puppet Theatre in Six Flags, and joy of joys, the characters from the shows would occasionally walk around the park.

Here I am with my hero, the Mayor of Living Island himself, H.R. Pufnstuf.

That's me in the red shirt and white hat. Also seen "horning" in on the action is Ms. Party Hat from Lidsville.

I also got pretty chummy with The Colonel from Lidsville as well.

Apparently I had one pose for all pictures. I remember good ole' Colonel scaring the good old' bejeebus out of me, so I stood as far from him as I could but still stay in the shot.

You know, watching those guys on TV is great. Seeing them in person, they just look like misshapen mutants...


I'm happy my parents kept the old photos, and transferred them to CD so I can enjoy them forever.

Since I'm in a charitable, nostalgic mood, here's a picture I found just for my former roommate Gary and and his brother Phillip:

Magic World in Pigeon Forge, circa 1976. Eat your hearts out, guys...I was there first.

Note: In searching the CD's for these particular pictures, I found a bunch of 1982 World's Fair pictures. I'll be posting them on my 25th Anniversary Site soon.

Red Skelton at the World's Fair

Read my post recalling a performance of Red Skelton at the 1982 Worlds Fair on my World's Fair 25th site.

Remembering Rebecca Lee Koborie - Sept 1.

Today is the 1st of September. On the 11th of September 2001, Rebecca Lee Koborie was murdered in downtown New York. Each days counting down to 9/11/06 I'm going to introduce you to Rebecca, tell you a little about her life, dreams, career, friends, family and talents.

I won't tell you about her death, because that we already know. We've spent almost five years trying to ensure it doesn't happen again. This is the last moment I'll say anything about the tragedy.

But that's not what the 2996 project is about. It's about celebrating life, and rejoicing over the time Rebecca spent on the Earth. To me it's about meeting a person who's been gone for five years, through the thoughts and words of the people that knew her. It's about understanding the precious nature of the people we sometimes take for granted. It's about understanding the diversity in us all, and how we come together to make a nation that's stronger than it's individual parts. It's about all of us, and how one person made a difference in the lives of others.

I'd like to humbly ask permission from each of the websites I will be pulling information from about Rebecca and the lives the touched. I will do my best to attribute photos and info to the various sites I pull content from. I can't ask each person individually, but I can assure her friends and family that I will pay tribute to her with utmost respect and dignity. If anyone that knew her would like to contact me with personal stories or anecdotes, please email me at - I've set up a special Gmail account for that correspondence.

Rebecca Lee Koborie was 48 years old and lived in Guttenberg, N.J.

She was an executive secretary at Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. in the World Trade Center.

She left behind a father, mother, two brothers and a sister.

Top Photo and information
Bottom Photo and information

Friday's Feast

Friday's Feast

Friday, September 01, 2006 - Feast One Hundred & Nine

Appetizer - What are some lyrics you have misheard (such as, instead of "Gettin' Jiggy With It" you heard "Kick a chicken with it")?

I can't think of any misheard lyrics at the moment, but for years and years I thought the song "Afternoon Delight" was about a couple getting together on a picnic blanket on the hillside watching fireworks on a nice afternoon. It never occured to me to ask why they'd be watching fireworks in the middle of the day.

"Oh, that's what an afternoon delight is...

Soup - What is the worst movie you have ever seen?

Repeat - Oh boy.. well, for years the worst movie I'd ever seen was "The Stuff" with Michael Moriarty. I don't remember much about it, but it came out during the time I worked as an usher at a movie theatre, and several of us would stay late to watch movies. I watched more movies during those 2-1/2 years or so than I have since. The reason I remember that one being bad was a) Michael Moriarty's horrible, horrible dead-pan performance. I can't stand to watch him in anything now - I turn the channel if I happen across an old Law and Order rerun... and 2) every of my coworkers panned it as well, and we made fun of it the rest of the year.

Of more modern movies...there was the late-night Target caper "Career Opportunities" - yes, you know the one with Jennifer Connely riding the mechanical kid's horse after the department store...with the tight, tight tank top shirt.....(sorry, mind wandered there for a second). I went to see it with Laura at the theatre and actually paid full price for it. We were expecting something a little more..cerebral. I was actually uncomfortable watching the horse-riding scene, with my wife sitting next to me, because it's so blatantly sensual I almost felt I needed to wash my hands afterwards. Anyway, the movie itself was written by John Hughes in a desperate attempt to find another Home Alone success. Bzzzzzt.

Salad - Using the letters from your favorite number, write a sentence. Example: Tomorrow has really easy experiences.

Fire is very exciting.

Main Course - What was the most interesting news story you have heard this week?

If by "interesting" you mean "idiotic" it's the decision to demote Pluto from the rank of planets. I devoted some considerable attention to this one.

I think it's fine that scientists want to nail down the definition of a planet. I think it's fine to debate what the scientific vs. cultural definition of a planet. But we've all grown up with 9 planets in the solar system. If you want to add more, add more. But don't take away a constant mininum that's been part of our lives since the first science class.

Dessert - Which word(s) would you choose to describe your wardrobe?

Brown. I have a very brown wardrobe. My pants are mostly all different shades of khaki, and a number of my shirts are different shades of tan or brown. I basically mix and match the opposite shades on different days. I have a few color shirts I wear from time to time, though.